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Study: Mining is a major driver of sub-Saharan Africa's TB epidemic
Date:6/7/2010

y one factor contributing to the high TB rates and that mining is a significant additional factor. The researchers found, for example, that when countries reduced their mining activity, TB rates fell more quickly than in neighboring countries with stable or increasing mining rates.

TB is a contagious disease. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. Only people who are sick with TB in their lungs are infectious. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. Infection occurs when a susceptible person inhales these bacilli. Rates of TB in the United States have been declining with 4.6 cases per 100,000 population in 2006, approximately one-seventieth of the rates seen in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

"It is a sad irony that precious minerals and metals coveted around the world cause such great harm in their production," said Lurie. "Our research points to the urgent need to improve the living and working conditions on African mines as an effective public health intervention."


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Contact: Anne Coyle
anne_coyle@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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